Saturday, January 9

Pears, and cooking with recipes of sorts

I found 5 organic pears on the reduced-produce cart at Meijer earlier this week, marked down to $1.95 and begging me to take them home. It is a little more than I usually spend on winter produce, HOWEVER, they were organic. And beautiful. And they actually called my name and asked me to make something yummy out of them. They tempted me out of my "say no to sugar" and called to me.

Aaron, Evan and I ate one-and-a half for lunch, and really enjoyed them, but the lone red d'anjou of the bunch looked a little hard, and I really wanted to make something oozy and carmelicious out of these - something that would go really well with the vanilla ice cream in our freezer. It was deep, deep in our freezer, seeing as I've been saying no to sugar a lot lately. Well, not lately, lately. Just in general.

So I chopped up 3 and 1/2 pears, making about 4 cups.
And then I zested an orange up on top - it was actually about 2/3 of an orange, but I'd totally recommend 1/2.

Then I connived and schemed some more.

Thought about what I wanted as an end product, and went ahead and dumped 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and half a stick of butter, but up in cute little squares. Carmel is the goal here. Not health.

Incidentally, my brown sugar has been so long neglected that it had lost it's packing power and had chunks. I left them alone - I love little chunks of brown sugar baked into things. I used to look especially for the cookies with the accidental brown sugar chunks - my mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies, made even more delicious with caramelized baked-in chunks of brown sugar.

OK moving on, I added about that much (see photo) ginger, and about twice as much cinnamon, and put it all in an 8 x 8 baking dish, after stirring it to combine and letting it sit in the bowl awhile.

Here's where you can start rolling your eyes. The recipe gets a little hard to follow here.

I had some leftover homemade baking mix from a recipe I made at a Pampered Chef show on Thursday. I'd say it was about 1/3 cup. If I had to guess.

Then I grabbed the bulk bag of walnuts from the pantry and filled up the bottom of my Pampered Chef food chopper twice and pretty much pulverized the little suckers. But not fine enough to be flour, just all in tiny pieces.

Then I put in another 1/4 cup or so of the chunky brown sugar, the other half of the stick of butter a splash of vanilla and mushed it around. It looked off, so I scooped 2 handfuls of old fashioned rolled oats in there and it was good to go.

Then I evenly distributed the topping, baked it at 350* until the pears were squishy and I had lots of juicy caramel, and took it out of the oven.

Whereupon I realized I needed to wait a very long time to eat it, so I stuck supper in and put the pan on the back of the stove, waited until we'd all eaten supper and put the kids to bed, then reheated and served with ice cream. A must. It's way too sweet and buttery and carmelicious. And you probably shouldn't try it. Unless you want to come over and have a little of mine.

You know, as I am supposed to be saying no to sugar and all.

So - I'm curious - do recipes like this bug you? Or is this how you cook? I got some info on supper swapping and was reading a book about it and had to laugh when the author suggested bringing your recipe cards/books and passing them around so others could get an idea of whether they would like your family's favorites or not.

I'd have to make something up, most likely. I look at a recipe as a suggestion of flavor combinations and proportions, everything else is pretty much optional. The bonus is that you can always cook something. The bummer is you can't ever quite reproduce it again.


Shelley said...

looks yummy!

Amanda Irene said...

yes I bake this way. Lately I have been trying to find those recipes like baked oatmeal, muffins.. that you can change out ingredients mash nanas-squash..
totally bugs me that I can't make it again! But this makes you a real cook! Didn't you see ratatoui?! Anyone can cook you can create! I know people want the recipe and I want my kids to have my recipes so I have started writing them down. Imagine your kids after your dead saying I sure do miss moms...wish we had that recipe. You've got time. oh, and one day I am going to show up on your door step!! : )

Kara said...

I am usually anal with ingredient amounts, but I'm finally getting comfortable enough in the kitchen to do a little of this and a little of that. It sounds great, I l love an oatmeal crisp top on just about anything.

Rosemary said...

Looks YUMMY!! I like do 'artistic baking/cooking', too. Your pictures are great - I can almost smell it ... mmmm.
But we would have had 'dessert first'. It's a rule at my house :)

Mary Ann said...

Looks great! And I'm with you on recipe modification. However, not only can you never really reproduce things, I have some spectacular disasters I could tell you about! :-)

ruth said...

Yummy! My mom cooks and bakes that way. I don't really have the confidence to just do it on my own, so I usually call her for help. :) I'm a wimp.

Tricia said...

I'm a meticulous recipe follower...but I'm a nerd. I like to read directions on everything as well.

Alicia said...

Yup, I cook this way too. I don't usually have all the ingredients necessary for most recipes anyways! :) Your pear stuff looks delish!